San Francisco, CA
Iconic, $$ (From $249)
The iconic Stanford Court, in San Francisco's posh Nob Hill neighborhood, recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation (guest rooms, lobby, amenities), re-emerging as a destination for tech-savvy travelers. The 140-year-old building is no stranger to innovation; it originally served as the mansion for one of the renowned Big Four railroad tycoons who shaped the city during the 19th century: industry mogul, university founder, and U.S. Senator Leland Stanford. The physical space has gone through many lives (and residents) since Stanford, but its location — at the intersection of California and Powell — has remained the only crossroads of the city's famed cable cars. When the time came to refresh, the hotel went all in to connect its guests with the latest in technology, comfort, and style: Google Chromecast HDTVs, interactive artwork, electric bikes, a tech rental program, and revamped fitness center with virtual personal trainers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay. The modern updates are a striking departure from the classic Nob Hill style, but a welcome disruption for high-tech travelers.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Old history with new tech.
Standout Detail: On the ceiling of the hotel bar is a scene from the legendary car chase through San Francisco (with a guest appearance by the Stanford Court) from the 1968 movie, Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. Set the scene by ordering a '68 Fastback cocktail of handcrafted Whiskey, grapefruit, and rosemary.
This Place Is Perfect For: High-tech travelers who don't like to be without their gadgets and business execs with a startup state of mind.
Rooms: There are 400 redesigned and refreshed rooms in four clever startup categories (from smallest to largest): Startup, Incubator, Accelerator, and Skyline. Each category includes both interior-facing rooms for light sleepers overlooking the hotel's courtyard and exterior-facing rooms with sweeping views of the Bay Area and city skyline. The modern decor is minimalist with stark white walls, herringbone floors, round leather benches, bright upholstery, and working desks with multiple plugins. The bathrooms also received a major remodel with marble floors, rain showers, heated towel racks, and sustainable water-saving toilets.
On Site: Embracing San Fran's "boom town" energy, the hotel partners with the most innovative brands, artists, and companies to allow guests to plug into the spirit of the city. Daylighted digital art installations, Google Chromecast HDTVs, Kinima.fit virtual personal training, and Peloton cycling bikes in the fitness room, business center with iMac computers, and a tech lending program for guests to rent Jambox speakers, GoPro cameras, and Silicon Valley's latest inventions. A new music room complete with record players and hundreds of vinyl records elevates the hotel's atmosphere and the cozy library and map room with curated books of San Francisco and the California coast is the go-to for a relaxing afternoon.
Food + Drink: The chic lobby restaurant and bar serves a sharable menu broken up between "Heads," "Hearts," and "Tails" for the appetizers, mains, and desserts. Drink your way through motion picture history with handcrafted cocktails dedicated to the classic films and characters from infamous San Francisco silver screen moments. Sample Clint Eastwood's signature Manhattan from Dirty Harry and 'The Maude' from 1971's Harold and Maude made with honey from the on site apiary and rooftop-grown mate leaves. A full breakfast buffet is served every morning in the Commons Cafe with made-to-order omelets, coffee, and pastries.
What to Do Nearby
Located in Nob Hill, one of San Fran's most sought-after neighborhoods, with views of downtown (without the looming fog), shopping, and dining at nearby Union Square, and quick commutes to the nearby Financial District and Chinatown. The best part of San Francisco's dining scene is how you can find Michelin-starred restaurants on the same corner as a hole in the wall for the best dim-sum or oysters in the city. The neighborhood's crown jewel, Sons and Daughters, is centered around an open kitchen featuring fresh produce from local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman in the Bay Area. Swan Oyster Depot is a no-frills raw bar serving fresh seafood for over 100 years to eighteen counter seats at a time. After hiking your way up San Fran's steepest hills, take a break in Huntington Park, created from the rumble of the 1906 earthquake. It's a little city on top of a hill with plenty of shady benches and a park for kids.